Flash to reach end-of-life at the end of 2020

It’s finally happening.

A year and a half after rebranding Flash Professional to Animate CC (and, hilariously, just days after I posted this self-answered Q&A about Flash), Adobe has announced that Flash will reach end-of-life at the end of 2020. Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla have shared their plans as they work closely with Adobe to move the web to a post-SWF era. At the end of 2020, Flash content on the web will no longer run on any major browser. This includes all of my work on Newgrounds (who, by the way, have yet to release a statement on this as of this writing) over the last decade.

This entry will detail my near-future plans as a Flash author in light of this announcement, but before that, allow me to wax lyrical about my past experiences for a moment. After all, as an individual who started out learning Flash animation alongside HTML during my childhood, and Flash having been a huge part of my adolescence, obviously this is a bittersweet moment for me.

My very first Flash animation on the web was actually an intro SWF I made at the age of 11 for NOVALISTIC 1.5. For some reason, I don’t have the SWF itself anymore but I do still have the HTML page — last modified on November 24, 2003 at 2:15:50 pm according to File Explorer — that actually loads in the SWF with the following markup generated by Flash:

<OBJECT classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,0,0" WIDTH="550" HEIGHT="390" id="intro" ALIGN="center">

 <PARAM NAME=movie VALUE="intro.swf">
 <PARAM NAME=loop VALUE=false>
 <PARAM NAME=quality VALUE=high>
 <PARAM NAME=bgcolor VALUE=#000000>
  <EMBED src="intro.swf" loop=false quality=high bgcolor=#000000  WIDTH="550" HEIGHT="390" NAME="intro" ALIGN="center"
 TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash" PLUGINSPAGE="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer">
</EMBED></OBJECT>

… and redirects to the home page after the length of the animation itself with the following handwritten line:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="13.5;URL=index1.htm">

Maybe the intro SWF was just that embarrassingly bad and I decided one day to toss it. I’m disappointed that I didn’t keep it, in any case.

Anyway, I started making Flash movies for Newgrounds at a completely age-appropriate time, I suppose — at the age of 13, just two years later. I started off with the family-friendly and well-received but short-lived FBF Randomness series under the perfectly self-deprecative name of n00b-l0s3r, then started making Clock content after I joined the Crew as BoltClock.

I had several ambitious projects planned over the next few years (including a full 10-installment lineup for FBF Randomness), but due to a catastrophic mistake in 2009 I lost almost all of my work-in-progress with a backup that was far too old to salvage much other than not even all of my finished projects, and my life as a Flash animator never recovered. That didn’t stop me from contributing every Clock Day (well, almost), though, and I’m still working on the ‘B’ee Game despite having put it on hold every year without fail.

Well, I fully expect 2016 to be the last time I do that, and I fully expect this Clock Day to be the day I finally finish the ‘B’ee Game and submit it to the Newgrounds Flash Portal. (Whether it passes judgement is another story.)

I also still have every intention to complete my Origins series, but in light of Adobe’s announcement, depending on when I actually get around to it I may have to consider doing things a little bit differently. Fitting, considering Part 2 was itself not just the sequel proper, but also a retelling of Part 1, chronologically combined into a single movie.

So, that’s what I have planned in the near future for what few ongoing Flash projects I still have. What about my past completed work? Honestly, I have no clue how I’m going to migrate it. Absolutely none of my Flash movies were made with 16:9 in mind, so even though Swivel exists I’m not going to be able to just convert them to 16:9 video directly, and like I said I’ve also permanently lost some of their FLAs, so I won’t be able to remaster them either. Not to mention the music licensing issues — a number of my submissions were (understandably) removed as part of the crackdown on submissions that used unlicensed music, and for obvious reasons I have no plans to bring them back.

Still, I’ve been toying with the idea of bringing back a Flash showcase to NOVALISTIC 5.0 “Veldin” ever since its development. Only, I’m not sure if I’d call it a Flash showcase, or something else entirely. And I’m sure you can guess why I don’t have one on the site right now. But it’s something for another time.

Flash will remain around for the next three years. So I have three years to wrap these matters up. It’s not a whole lot of time, but it’s time nevertheless. Time for me to get cracking.

It’s been amazing, Flash. Thank you for being one of my biggest outlets for creative expression growing up. And thank you for pioneering rich content on the web. (Huge props to Adobe and their partners for making it a point to highlight this fact, by the way — so many haters either don’t realize it at all or take it for granted, which is just so, so disappointing to someone who practically grew up with the thing.)

Oh, and happy 15th anniversary, Madness Combat!

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